The Independent Film & Television Alliance, which runs the American Film Market, had been flirting with moving the annual market downtown to the L.A. Live complex, and only reluctantly confirmed in September that it was staying in Santa Monica through 2012. But now it has gotten the upgrades it wanted from the city and has inked a deal that will keep the confab at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel — its home since 1991 — through 2017. Events also will be held at Le Merigot Beach Hotel and the Fairmont Miramar.
AFM officials cited an upcoming AMC cinema complex with 12 screens; a renovated and expanded Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, which will provide a venue for red-carpet premieres; additional hotel rooms in the downtown area; a light-rail stop at Fourth Street and Colorado Boulevard set to open in 2015; and a seven-acre park on Ocean Avenue opposite the Loews scheduled to be completed in 2013, along with a mixed-use complex featuring restaurants and retail. “Our stated goal from the start of this process has been to provide the best environment, resources and value for the world’s buyers and sellers and, after long and careful deliberations, we believe remaining in Santa Monica will achieve all of those goals,” IFTA president and CEO Jean Prewitt said. Santa Monica officials say that AFM will contribute more than $100 million to the local economy over the next six years. Here are the upcoming AFM dates, also announced today: October 31-November 7, 2012; November 6-13, 2013; November 5-12, 2014; November 4-11, 2015; November 2-9, 2016; November 1-8, 2017.